Arminian Atonement Errors (II)
Arminianism is heresy. It is a man-centered system of salvation. It follows the errors of the heretics, Pelagius and Socinus. As it pertains to the death of Christ…
First, Arminians claim that God had no certain decree to save anyone. Jesus Christ died on the cross, redeeming all people without exception (universal redemption), but he atoned for no one, specifically. In other words, Christ reconciled to God, no one in particular.
Second, Arminians teach that Christ’s death allowed God the Father to deal with sinful man. It gave the Father the right to create a covenant with man.
Third, Arminians believe the covenant God created with man was conditional. This means man must work to obey the conditions set by God. God has done His part of the agreement, and man is obligated to use his free will to comply to the terms of the covenant. This merely makes the salvation of man a possibility. The result is a range of potential believers in Jesus. The redeemed could, by chance, be all people, everywhere (universalism), or it could be absolutely no one (failed atonement).
Fourth, in the new covenant, God has reduced His demand, for perfect obedience to His Law, to one work of man…faith. If a man exercises his free will to believe in Jesus, then God views his work of obedient faith as perfectly acceptable. For the Arminian, this is the grace of the covenant: God reduces the standard of the Law to one work of righteousness; and God accepts the imperfect work of obedient faith as perfectly acceptable. That is Arminian grace.
Fifth, God helps all people without exception, by positioning them in a state of reconciliation. Christ died for everyone without exception (universal redemption), so that all people dwell in a living purgatory. They are freed from their temporary state by either deciding to let Jesus save them, or by death of the body.
No person is born disadvantaged in this world because all have Christ’s redemption at birth, which means original sin, and guilt from Adam, have been nullified by Christ’s death. The Arminian does acknowledge that all men are apt to sin and all do sin, but they are given a free pass from eternal death, until they reach the age of accountability (no one is sure what age this is).
Arminian preachers proclaim a man-centered gospel that tells of Christ’s death for the sins of the whole world. Despite Christ’s payment for all peoples’ sins, there is the condition God has placed on each person — to use their free will, to choose Christ as their savior.
Sixth, Christ’s death is a magnificent accomplishment, in the eyes of the Arminian. Christ has attained great benefits by His work on the cross. The infinite supply of God’s grace in Christ, however, must be tapped by each individual. If the choice to let Christ save her is not made, then the free offer of the Arminian Gospel will expire at death.
The choice to be saved by Christ, when made by the individual, appropriates Christ’s meritorious redemption. The “believer” makes atonement a reality, by apprehending the benefits of Christ’s work.
Seventh, the Arminian twists the doctrine of election by claiming that God loved His own, whoever he or she may be that chooses Christ, and therefore, it renders a substitutionary death as unnecessary. God loves everyone, and Christ redeemed everyone, so all that must be done is for people to believe the story of Jesus in order to be saved. Christ died as an example for, but not in the place of believers.
The rejection of these seven Arminian atonement errors is encouraged, by reason of the truth:
First, God decreed a definite atonement for His people (Eph 1:4, 5). In His eternal covenant of grace, He chose a people for His own possession (Rom 11:5; 1 Pet 2:9), in Christ, who came into the world to save His people from their sins (Mt 1:21). The covenant of grace, by definition, is unconditional, meaning God does all the work required. A covenant with conditions is a covenant of works, while an unconditional covenant is a covenant of grace.
Second, Christ’s death was absolutely necessary to vicariously atone for the sins of God’s elect people (Gal 2:20). Subject to original sin and guilt, the elect need atonement from conception (Eph 2:3).
Third, the application, of Christ’s meritorious works on the cross, is a work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit regenerates the elect soul (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Pet 1:3), giving all the benefits of Christ’s purchase (Eph 1:3). This includes the faith manifested in the redeemed (Phil 1:29), which demonstrates one’s justification by Christ’s blood and the grace of the Spirit.
Fourth, the saints of God are actually reconciled to God (2 Cor 5:18–19), and Christ’s perfect obedience to the Law, that is, His righteousness (right standing before God), is imputed to His beloved (Ps 24:5; Rom 4:11; 1 Cor 1:30; Eph 1:7). In conclusion, there is an unconditional covenant of grace, which is worked entirely by God, which actually atones for His chosen people. God’s people are saved by God (Titus 3:5), and not of themselves, in any way (Jn 1:13).
Spokane Valley, Washington
December 9, 2021